Flour is an ingredient that we have all gotten used to seeing in our kitchen, but not many know much about it. For example, do you know what millet flour is, its health benefits, and how to find a good millet flour substitute?
That is why we put together this list, hoping that you can be more confident whenever you encounter recipes involving this ingredient.
What Is Millet Flour?
Before we can work on millet flour, we must first know about millet. It is a type of grain among the grass family, seen practically around the world.
Don’t underestimate it, though, as it is among what we consider to be ancient grains. In other words, this seed has remained almost the same for thousands of years.
The appearance of millet is not that different from wheat, but there is practically no gluten within it.
While it was mainly popular in developing countries within Africa and Asia, it has gained steam in first-world countries as a sorghum replacement. It offers all the advantages of sorghum, but on a milder side, making it easier for cooks to control the dish.
As for millet flour, it is what we call the powdery substance obtained after grinding millet. There are not that many recipes with millet flour being the major ingredient. Regardless, it is prevalent as a must-have ingredient to accent the dish in many cuisines worldwide.
What Are Millet Flour’s Health Benefits?
The most vital thing about millet is that it has a high concentration of phenolic compounds like catechins and ferulic acid. You may not recognize them, but they are the best antioxidants possible to fight against harmful oxidative stress.
Other than that, ferulic acid helps you heal from wounds faster, offers anti-inflammatory properties as well as skin protection. Catechins, on the other hand, prevent metal poisoning from happening by binding to heavy metals present in your blood.
If you are thinking “Is millet flour gluten free?” The answer is yes, as there is almost no gluten present in this flour.
What Can Be Millet Flour Substitute?
Obviously, sorghum should be the very first thing that comes to your mind whenever you talk about millet flour substitutes. Once you cook it completely, this ingredient has the same chewy texture and nutty flavor that millet flour is known for.
Of course, you must keep in mind that the taste that this substitute for millet flour provides is on the stronger side.
If you mess up the amount, it will cause a domino effect with other ingredients and ruin the dish. That is why sorghum is mostly seen in soups as a millet flour substitution, despite being able to replace millet flour in almost every single recipe.
Using sorghum as a base for grain salads, baking, and savory dishes requires the cook to be especially careful with the proportion.
We do want to note that sorghum is among the healthiest options on this list. After all, it has a high concentration of fiber, iron, and protein. In fact, we can confidently say that in the sorghum vs millet healthy competition, sorghum takes the lead.
These days, it’s rare to find a kitchen that does not have quinoa readily available. This gluten-free millet substitute has become something that all cooks love due to its ability to absorb all extra flavors from other ingredients.
Its crunchy texture is almost indistinguishable from the texture of millet flour. This case rings especially true when quinoa is stir-fried or stewed. Don’t hesitate to throw some quinoa in if you cannot get millet flour for your favorite stew recipe.
You want to keep in mind that quinoa can be cooked in half the time necessary to cook millet flour. Forgetting this fact can easily lead to your quinoa breaking down too much and ruining the dish.
This substitute for millet flour originates from the deserts of the Middle East and the Mediterranean Basin. It can be made from numerous wheat species, but the most common one is undeniably durum wheat. Due to the main ingredient being wheat, you can expect a light nutty flavor out of bulgur.
The bulgur-making process includes parboiling, frying, and grinding the wheat groats. As a result, bulgur has a unique aroma akin to what millet produces when cooked.
That is why you can easily use it in all recipes concerning baking with millet flour. Aside from baking, bulgur can also replace millet in stews, soups, salads, and puddings, albeit not as good as baking.
The bad news for those with gluten intolerance: bulgur is not gluten-free at all. People looking for millet flour gluten-free substitutes will be dissatisfied.
Barley is arguably the single easiest substitute to find for millet flour. You can find it in convenience stores all around the world. Since it is also a whole grain plant, it has the same crunchy feels that millet is well-known for.
It is also quite easy to prepare, as it does not require complicated arrangements like overnight pre-soaking. Moreover, their similar natures mean you can skip the troublesome step of calculating the two ingredient’s ratio.
This ingredient fits the best as a millet flour substitute for casserole and soup recipes. Barley has a high proportion of soluble fiber content, ensuring better “good bacteria” development in your gut microbiome. That is why it also works as a substitute for sorghum.
You may be surprised to find it here, but rice is actually among the best millet flour substitutes. Due to it having almost the same texture as millet flour, you can easily put rice in instead of millet for savory recipes.
You don’t even need to look anywhere far for rice, especially if you come from Asian culture. The mild flavor of rice means that you will not need to worry about it accenting a difference to millet flour. As for the millet taste, you can always cover it with spices.
After all, it’s always much harder to take a flavor out instead of adding a flavor in.
6. Montina Flour
While this ingredient can do a good job replacing millet flour, it is only available in the North American region. You can only get Montina flour by milling Indian ricegrass, which only grows in the western parts of the United States.
Montina grain has almost the exact same taste as millet as well as a similar texture. As such, you can practically use it in every single millet recipe. If not for its limited availability, we would rank it as the best possible millet flour substitute.
Montina flour is also gluten-free, so you can enjoy lots of health benefits by using it.
One of the oldest grains on this list, amaranth, was first cultivated at least 8,000 years ago in Mesoamerica. Due to its drought-tolerant nature, it was a vital food for Aztec people.
This ingredient has almost the same texture as millet flour, but its taste is different. This nutty, malty taste can be recognized immediately without something masking it. That is why you should only use it to replace millet flour in stew dishes.
This ancient seed is quite a good protein source, with a quarter of a cup providing as much as 7g of protein. It’s also not just regular protein, but complete protein. In other words, all the essential amino acids such as lysine are there, so it can also serve as a sorghum grain substitute.
Buckwheat has been popular for a long time as an Asian specialty. You should have seen it either as an ingredient in most Asian-style slow-cooked dishes or as a straight-up side dish. However, you may not know that this ingredient can do a convincing job replacing millet flour.
The only issue you need to work out is the fact that its earthy tones can be too strong compared to millet. As such, you should never use the same amount of buckwheat, but always much lower. The earthy tones also means that it can be a substitute for amaranth flour.
9. All-Purpose Flour
Staying true to its name, all-purpose flour can be used for pretty much everything, including millet flour or soy flour substitute. It has about the same protein structure as millet flour, and the texture is not that different.
That is why you can use a 1:1 ratio whenever you substitute this flour for millet. It shines the best when you use it in baking recipes, though. It’s also rich in minerals and vitamins, so you will receive the daily nutrient intakes you need.
Aside from millet, this flour can be a good sorghum flour replacement.
10. Wheat Flour
Most people overlook this ingredient, but it does have the potential to be a good millet flour substitute. But only the “soft” type of wheat flour can do so due to its low gluten content.
With less gluten, it has a finer and crumblier texture, akin to millet flour. That is why you can use it as a millet flour gluten free substitute..
Nonetheless, the difference in taste is just too notable for using it in anything other than baking recipes. The nature of sauce thickeners does warrant some use of wheat flour instead of millet, though. It is especially true for things like white bean pasta sauce.
Millet flour is a good ingredient for many recipes, offering quite a lot of health advantages, but it’s not always readily available. With this guide, we hope that you can now confidently pick out a suitable millet flour substitute right away.
Of all the choices we have presented, we believe that sorghum and Montina flour can perform the best. Nevertheless, the latter can only be a choice for people living in North America.